Overview of a Bachelor’s in Project Management
An associate is the lowest possible level of available degrees, but a bachelor’s degree is the most commonly received. A bachelor’s in project management is also often the expected entry-level degree that employers are looking for when they start hiring project managers. While an associate project management degree gives you a narrow focus on the field you are entering and will allow you to learn on the job and work your way up into a management position, a bachelor’s gives you the breadth of knowledge necessary to deal with the unexpected and challenging tasks of working day-to-day in the field and can boost you into project manager positions without requiring nearly as much experience. It also often prepares you for promotions and earning certificates, which allow you to distinguish yourself from among your colleagues. If you’re considering entering a bachelor’s in project management program, you’ve come to the right place.
Completing bachelor’s in project management programs can raise salary and increase career options. The increase in wages over persons that have not completed bachelor’s programs is significant. Over the course of a lifetime of earnings, a bachelor’s degree can provide up to one million dollars in income above a high school graduate’s earnings.
A bachelor’s degree is also the current entry-level degree for the field of project management. Students can take project management courses in risk management, business management, and global project management. Many schools offer a BS in Business or Business Administration with a project management concentration or focus. The BS in Project Management opens pathways to new occupations as a project management professional and high levels of responsibility. The overall scope of a project manager's responsibilities supports long-term career development for professionals of all kinds. Many experts regard project management education programs as excellent building blocks for leadership roles, including CEO.
A bachelor’s in project management program requires a four-year commitment of time and resources and this can be a drawback for some students. By contrast, a project management certificate might take a matter of weeks, such as the CAPM, which is accessible to professionals with an associate degree. While bachelor’s programs are entry-level in the field of project management, some employers prefer candidates with higher levels of formal education such as a master’s-level project management degree. College-level faculty positions, for example, might favor master’s and doctoral degree holders over bachelor’s degree and certificate holders.
The cons of a bachelor’s in project management include the fundamental factor of experience in a field. Project management consists of techniques, skills, and strategies for organizing and overseeing work and risk management. This project management knowledge is distinct from the actual experience of working in the field. In many fields, such as data management or construction, project managers and other professionals must have a depth of knowledge and sharp insights into the technical aspects of the business. Bachelor degree holders in the field of project management must still master the subject matter of the field in which they intend to work.
Associates Vs. Bachelor’s
A project management bachelor’s degree provides a comprehensive education that includes business and management coursework and general education. A bachelor’s project management degree prepares graduates for further study at the graduate level. A certificate project management program is narrower in scope than bachelor’s degree programs, and certificates from the Project Management Institute (PMI) focus on developing skills and abilities that project managers might need to manage people, organizational elements, and tasks. There are certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
An undergraduate certificate in project management is a short path to gaining a project management credential approved by the Accreditation Center for Project Management. The areas of study include strategic planning, cost management, leadership, and partnership. Undergraduate certificate programs prepare graduates for the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) examination and certification. The undergraduate certification requires a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Some schools offer a graduate certificate which requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related field as a prerequisite. The graduate project management certificate focuses on managing projects and activities at an intense level that would be typical of leadership positions. This is the certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP).
What Project Management Bachelor’s Degrees are Available?
A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in project management is a liberal arts degree available from a variety of institutions. Graduates experience a wide-ranging project management education and a broad range of business background courses. The BA is an excellent path for those seeking a Master of Arts or a doctoral level degree. A bachelor of arts degree usually requires completing about 120 semester hours of study. The advantages of a BA program include the flexibility to meet a student’s goals and content needs. Students spend less time in the specific areas of business and project management than in a BS program, but gain a breadth of knowledge they may not in other programs. They can emphasize support skills and knowledge that can also provide long-term success such as English, writing, and communications.
A Bachelor of Science (BS) in project management has a stronger technical focus than the BA degree. The bachelor of science degree may take more than 120 hours and more classwork than a BA in project management or business management. The BS degree contains more courses that directly connect to the field of business management or project management. Students in BS programs can accomplish a depth of knowledge in the technical areas in which they intend to work or develop a career.
Applicants for a bachelor degree program in project management must have a high school diploma, a GED, or an equivalent such as homeschooling. There are advantages for students that carry a focus on mathematics and science courses. There are also advantages for focusing on communications, English, and writing. Students will study business principles including computer science, information technology, and international or global business management. Students must also have a solid basis in data analysis.
The fundamentals of project management include accounting, finance, budgeting, contracts, and strong skills in verbal and written communications. Students should be eager learners and curious about the details of the businesses and industries they wish to join.
How long does it take to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Project Management?
The Bachelor of Science in Project or Business Management is a four-year degree. The typical requirements are 120 or more semester hours of study. When studied online, students can reduce the time needed to complete the BS requirements. They can attend summer sessions and add extra courses during the regular terms. Some schools grant credit for life experience, past educational achievements, and proficiency testing. These items include courses taken at community colleges and online. By using these resources, students can reduce the time needed to complete the program by as much as two full years.
However, you should also be aware that, by taking your courses part-time or skipping semesters, you could also lengthen the time frame for completing your degree by several years.
Potential Careers in Project Management with a Bachelor’s
The project management degree offers a wide range of potential industries and business settings. Construction, public administration, manufacturing, and marketing are among the fields that use project managers extensively.
- CEO is the top decision maker in a company or other type of organization. The CEO has final responsibility for reaching the organization’s goals. Project management is an excellent preparation for CEO responsibilities; project managers often oversee an activity from its early planning stages and must know about all the parts and stages. The median salary is approximately $160,000.
- Business Managers oversee the general and specific processes of a business or organization. Many business managers learn on the job, but today most candidates have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related major such as business management, business administration, or project management. The median salary for business managers is approximately $59,000.
- Construction Managers oversee all or part of a building or other type of construction project. They must manage supplies, labor, subcontractors, and schedules to keep a project on time and under budget. The median salary is approximately $75,000.
- Information Systems Managers often control the IT section of a company or organization. They manage systems and personnel to ensure that information operations run smoothly and carry out their needed roles. The median salary for Information Systems Managers is approximately $83,000.
- Logisticians manage an organizations flow of goods and materials, which includes all transportation and storage aspects of the business. Timing and availability are essential parts of keeping business processes running efficiently. The median salary for logistics managers is approximately $65,000.
Options to Advance
The bachelor of arts or bachelor of science is an entry-level degree in the field of project management. The master’s degree is the full participation level for the profession, and the doctoral level can establish business and academic expertise. Education in one specific business sector can also increase earning; data analytics, information technology, and marketing are examples of subject areas for further study.
Project management professionals can distinguish their qualifications and increase opportunities by additional education in project management and in their substantive area of business or commerce. Project management is a competitive field, and often the differences among applicants for a position or competitors for a contract rests with experience in the technical field. Experience can boost earnings and increase the numbers of opportunities for a project manager.
Best Bachelor’s of Science in Project Management
The traditional on-campus four-year degree is somewhat rare in project management. Many more schools offer a minor or concentration than a major and degree. Schools offer hybrid, online, and entirely on-campus options for a project management certificate or degrees. The items below describe on-campus programs that may or may not also be available online.
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland
The A.J. Clark School of Engineering offers an undergraduate minor in project management. The coursework can combine with a master’s degree and doctoral programs in engineering and civil engineering.
- BS Business Administration with a minor in Project Management
This University offers an accredited and GAC program accredited BS in project management either on campus or in hybrid forms.
- Bachelor of Science in Project Management
San Diego, California
The degree program prepares graduates to work in a wide range of business and industry settings to organize activities from early concepts, planning, to completion stages.
- Bachelor of Science in Project Management
Columbia Basin College
This College offers an on-campus Bachelor of Applied Science degree. The school houses the project management applied science degree in its business, computer, and library division. The program has PMI accreditation.
- Bachelor of Applied Science in Project Management
The DeVry campus in Naperville offers an on-campus bachelor’s degree in project management. The program had PMI programmatic accreditation.
- Bachelor of Applied Science in Project Management
Traditional Schools Offering a B.S. in Project Management
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
Daytona Beach, Florida
Using all PMP-certified faculty enables ERAU to offer instruction from experienced practitioners as well as career counseling and support. With many locations, students can learn online, on campus, or both.
- Bachelor of Science in Project Management
- Combined Bachelor and Master’s Program
Colorado State Global College
Greenwood Village, Colorado
The college has accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The curriculum is aligned with the standards of the project management institute. The program also has accreditation from the global accreditation Center.
- Bachelor of Science in Project management
- Bachelor of Science in Business Management
- Project Management Undergraduate Certificate
Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, New Hampshire
Offering both a BS and an MBA in Project Management, Southern New Hampshire University is a leader in online education and distance learning. The school offers an extensive listing of programs and degrees in business disciplines. SNH has regional accreditation from the NECHE, and program accreditation from the Project Management Institute.
- BS in Operations Management- Project Management
- BS in Data Analytics
Purdue University Global
This ACBSP-accredited program offers a bachelor of science in business management with a concentration in project management. Purdue Global also offers a graduate certificate for those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related field.
- BS in Business Administration (Concentration in Project Management)
- Project Management Graduate Certificate
Colorado Technical University
Colorado Springs, Colorado
The school has Higher Learning Commission accreditation. The BSBA-PM program combines a business administration technical focus and project management. The BSD is an educational program that provides a solid basis in business and advanced project management skills.
- BS in Business Administration-Project Management
- BS in Business Administration concentration in Management
Business Degrees & Career Paths